This week in Ole Miss hoops has been simultaneously encouraging and disappointing. On one hand, the Rebs frustratingly came up just four points and a few electrolytes short of upsetting No. 1 ranked Kentucky in overtime. On the other, they didn't lose by 30 like everyone expected and we all survived the drinking game.
In any event, we're on to the next one, which happens to be South Carolina at home on Saturday. The Gamecocks have a pretty decent team this season, so this game should answer some questions. Are the Rebs really as good as they looked in Lexington, or will they fall back to predictably align with the level of competition? Can they keep their hot shooting going? Can the big men bang the boards like they did against those Monstars in the Rupp? Can someone get Stefan Moody a goddamn Gatorade?
The game airs on FSN at 4 p.m. CT. You can watch online at WatchESPN.com, though it's subject to blackout.
Well let's meet the Gamecocks, shall we?
The Cocks come in at a relatively impressive 9-4, though they did drop their SEC opener at home to Florida this week, 72-68. I say impressive because one of those nine Ws was a shocking four-point upset over then-No. 9 Iowa State. That win was no fluke either -- South Carolina trailed for a grand total of just 106 seconds.
What they're good at
South Carolina can wipe the glass. They're third in the conference in rebounds per game and are top-20 nationally in defensive boards. A 6'7 Lithuanian named Mindaugas Kacinas leads the club, coming off the bench to pull in 6.2 rebounds per outing.
They can also swat some shots, something the Rebs don't want to see after getting rejected seven times by Kentucky. South Carolina ranks third in the SEC and 21st in the nation with 5.62 blocks per game.
What they suck at
Perimeter shooting. The Cocks are hitting barely 30 percent of their three-pointers, second worst in the conference and 274th in the country. Duane Notice has sunk 20 of his 50 treys (40 percent), but no one else on the team has hit more than 11. Ole Miss should be able to crowd the interior without much concern over outside shooting.